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Failing Forward–R&B Soul Life Lesson– You Have Control On the Next Pace In Your Journey
February 6, 2023 at 5:00 AM
by Craig C. Martin
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I was watching the R&B money podcast interview between R&B superstars, Tank, J Valentine, and Ari Lennox. During this conversation, Tank and J Valentine were both giving flowers and gems to Ari who has become quite the songstress of our day.

Tank asked Ari to share her favorite show that she has performed. Ari shared how amazing it was that folks came out to see her from across the globe for her #SheaButterBabyTour. She beamed about the love and support of the people as well as how confident she was in her voice and ability to perform on her own for thousands of concertgoers, even at Coachella.

Ari came to a part of the story when she explained how tough it was when her voice would not allow her to hit certain notes that she desired during a night or two of her performances.

“There were a few nights, though, and I tried to hit a note and it did not come out.

“It happens,” chimes J. Valentine.

“It happens,” echoes Tank.

Ari–Deep sigh.

“Especially when you sing live,” continues J. Valentine

Ari, “There are still notes that I won't do to this day because of those moments of embarrassment and trauma…”

At this moment Tank and J could’ve just transitioned to the next question or topic because there was a moment when Ari visibly was revisiting the pain in those concerts. But they didn’t. The conversation kept going.


For some time I have been telling myself a lot of different stories, feeding myself a lot of stories, and ingesting the minerals of those stories. And I believe I am experiencing a story acid reflux thing…my mind, body, and spirit ain’t having it no more. That stoic pained look on Ari’s face caused something to stir inside of me.

In my mind, I see this grand vision of myself wanting to be a major influencer, an international global architect of change yet I have not put in the real work, lately, to deal with the heartbreak of traumas I experienced at such early stages of my life.

Psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Michas, says the healing process for managing past traumas could be connected to a host of things–how we encapsulate the event into our brains in juxtaposition to how that event may have occurred. When we sit down and think about all of the emotions, reactions, and people involved in that moment, the true essence of that moment can be lost to how we want to believe it happened.

Until we choose a different path to deal with a trauma that shows up, our reactions become cyclical as well as the tailspin of anxiety, doubt, and possible paralysis.


“My whistle note– it sometimes comes out. Sometimes it doesn't. So I don't even try anymore?” replies, Ari Lennox

“Do you test it backstage?” queries Tank

“Wow?” beams, Ari

“Do you test it between songs or away from the mic?”

“Wow, I never thought to do that?”

“Right before I try a daredevil stunt, I’ll try it out .”

“OMG, I never thought to do that.” “What’s wrong with me?”

“These are lessons that you learn along the way.” Tank

“He has been on professional stages since he was 9. “I've been doing it since high school.”

“[These are ]Tricks of the trade. It’s your world. You have more control than you realize…

Within that control, they have no idea what is going on. You have the control...” Tank

“You’ve got to get out of your head.” J Valentine.

“But, I’ve been thinking hard about that one note.” Ari

“Let it go.” J. Valentine

“They are not– YOU.” Tank

“I should’ve never hit that note one time.” Ari

“Michael Jordan misses every now and then…” J. Valentine

“If Michael Jordan can miss, I can miss a note. Wow.” Ari

This is the spirit of #FailingForward

For some reason, this conversation unlocked something in me. With all that I have experienced (the trials, tribulations, and triumphs), one would want to believe that I should know everything I have faced and that this conversation is not necessarily groundbreaking.

Watching (not hearing) Ari’s reaction to Tank at that moment did break ground in me that I had cemented in my brain for a long time.

I immediately started to think differently about my Twitter profile.

Weekly, I send an automated message to folks that indicates we must #FailForward. And I paused to think more deeply about its contemporary meaning in today’s space.

How do I #FailForward and take control of the next pace of my journey?

One of the immediate ways I unearthed a physical manifestation of #FailingForward, is when I ponder about my weight loss journey and how much I had to learn about diet, weight lifting, and body awareness. I simply thought–fewer calories, less sugar, and burning a ton of calories in the gym–and the weight would just melt away. When I would track my journey on the scale, I notice that I would hit a plateau or that I would gain weight after successive weeks of the pounds going down. It never dawned on me that my muscle development would actually push me up the scale versus downward, and that is an okay thing to experience. I remember how much shame I felt in those weeks of discipline to see the number not be in my mind’s favor. Because I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror, I missed how much of that discipline was actually working for me–that my body was responding to the work even if the numbers weren’t saying so.

As I write and share this piece with you I am choosing a new pathway to deal with some deep messages within myself

…that I am not enough,

…that I am not a published author yet,

…that I am not attractive enough,

…that I am not fit enough,

…that I am not strong enough,

…that I am not worthy….enough

I get to activate a new way of being, tapping into a new encoding of how worthy I am. You and I were created with purpose and giftings and are here on this earth for something greater than we can ever imagine. That’s the gift of #FailingForward!

You and I can reframe the narrative and live into that new narrative until it becomes real to ever fiber of our being. When those negative thoughts surface, as they will do, pause the predictable replay of internalized imperfection that dims your light. Instead, breathe. Give yourself grace. Focus on 5 things you are grateful for in that moment.

Everyday, we get to choose how we live more holistically healthy lives seeped in joy, gratitude, and presence because you and I deserve to live lives where we thrive.

Failure and a relentless vision for thriving drove Michael Jordan to become the man he is today. Ari Lennox is a fierce award-nominated songstress who is finding a way to battle the #Pressure of celebrity and her own womanhood.

Today and everyday I will commit to Craig's Road to a Better Human Being Called which includes a treasured focus on gratitude, connections with folks who fill my heartbucket, and wellness.

Let's both rise in a reimagined story of resilience, small wins, and kindness that we can be proud of.